Forest Green Rovers F.C.

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Forest Green Rovers
Forest Green Rovers FC logo
Full nameForest Green Rovers Football Club
Nickname(s)Rovers
The Green
FGR
The Little Club On The Hill
Green Army
Founded1889; 125 years ago (1889) (as 'Forest Green')
GroundThe New Lawn
Nailsworth, Stroud
Ground Capacity5,017
ChairmanDale Vince
ManagerAdrian Pennock
LeagueConference Premier
2013–14Conference Premier, 10th
 
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Forest Green Rovers
Forest Green Rovers FC logo
Full nameForest Green Rovers Football Club
Nickname(s)Rovers
The Green
FGR
The Little Club On The Hill
Green Army
Founded1889; 125 years ago (1889) (as 'Forest Green')
GroundThe New Lawn
Nailsworth, Stroud
Ground Capacity5,017
ChairmanDale Vince
ManagerAdrian Pennock
LeagueConference Premier
2013–14Conference Premier, 10th

Forest Green Rovers Football Club is an English football club based in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, currently the longest-serving members of the Conference Premier. The club is affiliated to the Gloucestershire County FA and has EMAS status.

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

The club was founded in 1889 as Forest Green by the local Nonconformist church minister. The club would go on to become founder members of the Mid Gloucestershire League in 1894. The club moved to the newly formed Stroud & District League in 1902 where they remained for 32 years, also playing in the Dursley & District League. Rovers won the Dursley & District League in 1903 and this was the club's first ever silverware. They were founder members of the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League in 1922 alongside Cheltenham Town and the club were to win the league three times in 1938, 1950 and 1951.

In 1926 Rovers home ground, the Lawn Ground, was officially enclosed and a decade later the committee members at the club bought the field for £120 at an auction.

Post Second World War period[edit]

In 1968 they were founder members of the Gloucestershire County League where they remained for seven seasons with an average finishing position of 6th. Former Arsenal number six, Peter Goring became the club manager and in his eleven-year spell the club earned promotion to the Hellenic League in 1975.

The Vase win and Stroud FC[edit]

The 1981–82 season saw the club win the Hellenic League championship and the FA Vase under manager Bob Mersell at Wembley, beating Rainworth Miners Welfare 3–0 in the final. The same season the club moved upwards into the Southern League where they finished third in their maiden season in the Midland Division.

However in subsequent seasons the club failed to make much of an impact, and in 1989 the club changed its name to Stroud F.C. in an attempt to revitalise the football club. This highly opposed[citation needed] move failed to improve the club's fortunes and the club struggled seriously both on the pitch and with the clubs finances.

Back to Forest Green[edit]

The name was changed back to Forest Green Rovers for the 1992–93 season thanks to the introduction of new chairman and investor Trevor Horsley, who worked alongside Andy Coburn and new secretary Colin Peake to re-introduce the club's former title. The arrival of Horsley changed the fortunes of the club and performances on the pitch improved significantly as did the development of The Lawn.

Promotion to the Conference[edit]

The club appointed Frank Gregan as their new manager in 1994 and the club enjoyed two successive promotions in 1997 and 1998 through the Southern League into the Football Conference. In the club's first season in the Conference they finished 12th. A run to the final of the FA Trophy saw them lose 1–0 at Wembley Stadium to Kingstonian. The appearance in the Trophy final made Forest Green the first club in history to have appeared in both the FA Vase final and FA Trophy final. They went on to appear in the FA Cup First Round for the first time, defeating Guiseley 6–0 to set up a home tie with Torquay United, which they lost 3–0.

Conference years[edit]

Frank Gregan left the club and former England international Nigel Spink was appointed manager and he led Rovers to another appearance in the FA Trophy final in 2001. However another 1–0 defeat, this time to Canvey Island at Villa Park meant Forest Green finished as runners up for a second time.

Rovers recorded their second best ever league finish - 9th - in 2003 under Colin Addison, as well as an appearance on Match of the Day in the first round of the FA Cup where they drew 0–0 at The Lawn with Football League side Exeter City.

In 2002 the club put forward a planning application for a new ground 400 yards up the road from The Lawn that would come under Football League standards. Permission was granted for the ground to be built in 2005 and the club moved into The New Lawn in 2006. The first match at the new ground was a pre-season friendly against Swindon Town.

Then manager, Gary Owers, was then sacked by the club and he was replaced by Jim Harvey. Harvey led Forest Green to 14th in his first season with the club. He then led Rovers to their highest ever league finish of 8th in the 2007–08 season. The club also reached the FA Cup 2nd round, where they lost in a tight match, 3–2 against League One outfit Swindon Town. In 2008–09 they reached the FA Cup 3rd round for the first time but lost 3–4 to Derby County on 3 January 2009 after leading 2–0. This game also saw Forest Green record their highest ever attendance with 4836 watching the match.

In March 2009, still under Harvey, Forest Green reached the Conference League Cup final having defeated Ebbsfleet United 1–0 at Stonebridge Road to set up a final clash at the New Lawn with AFC Telford United. However, despite having most of the chances, Rovers lost the game 0-3 on penalties after a goalless finish at full-time, in front of over 2,300 supporters and a Setanta Sports television audience.

Jim Harvey left the club at the start of the 2009–10 season and was replaced by Dave Hockaday. Forest Green reached the FA Cup 3rd round again the following season and were drawn away to Notts County in the third round. The tie was postponed due to freezing conditions meaning Forest Green would be in the fourth round draw for the first time in their history. The fourth round draw saw Forest Green draw Premier League side Wigan Athletic, although Forest Green then lost 2 -1 to Notts County on 19 January 2010 at Meadow Lane.

Rovers 12 year stay in the Conference Premier ended on 24 April 2010 when they lost 2–1 to Grays Athletic and were relegated from the Conference Premier. However, on 10 June, they were reprieved after Salisbury City were removed from the division for breaking financial rules. During the season Forest Green chairman, Trevor Horsley, revealed the club was in serious debt and he described the clubs position as a "crisis".

Green energy tycoon and Ecotricity owner Dale Vince launched a takeover of the club in August 2010 and Vince became the club's majority shareholder and then chairman a few months later. Forest Green made national headlines in February 2011 when Vince introduced a ban on all red meat being sold at the club, on health and ethical grounds.[1]

At the end of Vince's first season in charge of the club, Rovers secured another season of Conference football for the 2011–12 season, despite losing to Tamworth on the final day with the club staying up on goal difference. The following 2011–12 season saw large scale improvements on the pitch and Forest Green finished 10th securing a fifteenth consecutive season of Conference football. In May 2012 long term club secretary Colin Peake left the club and was followed the following month by co-vice chairman Trevor Horsley after he had been involved at the club for over 20 years.[2]

The following 2012–13 campaign saw the club again record a 10th place finish. Three months into the 2013–14 season saw Dave Hockaday's time at the club come to an end as he departed by mutual consent. Hockaday's former assistant, Gary Seward, was placed in temporary charge of the side but left after just one game and was replaced by the club's Head of Youth, Scott Bartlett, as caretaker. On 12 November 2013 it was announced that Adrian Pennock had been appointed as the new first team manager, assisted in the role by Dave Kevan. Scott Bartlett returned to his role as Head of Youth at the club. For a third consecutive year the club ended their 2013–14 season in 10th position ensuring they would compete in the Conference National for a seventeenth consecutive season.

Seasons[edit]

This is 11 recent Forest Green Rovers seasons, for a full history look List of Forest Green Rovers F.C. seasons

YearLeagueLevelPldWDLGFGAGDPtsPositionOverall
position
Leading league scorer[3]FA CupFA TrophyAverage home
attendance[4]
NameGoalsResRecResRec
2003–04Conference
National
5421212185880−224818th of 22110thScott Rogers
Neil Grayson
9QR40–0–1R41–1–1902
2004–05Conference
National
542615214181−403320th of 22112thCharlie Griffin17R11–1–1R30–0–1743
2005–06Conference
National
542814204962−133819th of 22111thPaul Wanless10QR40–0–1R32–0–1977
2006–07Conference
National
5461318155964−55714th of 24106thSimon Clist
Danny Carey-Bertram
7QR40–0–1R10–0–11185
2007–08Conference
National
5461914137659+17718th of 24100thStuart Fleetwood27R22–2–1R21–0–11178
2008–09Conference
National
5461216187076−65218th of 24110thAndrew Mangan26R33–1–1QF3–0–1955
2009–10Conference
National
544129235076−264521st of 23113thJonathan Smith8R33–1–1R10–0–11012
2010–11Conference
National
5461016205372−194620th of 24112thReece Styche15R11–0–1R10–0–1949
2011–12Conference
National
5461913146645+217010th of 24102ndYan Klukowski18QR40–0–1R10–1–11034
2012–13Conference
National
5461811176349+146510th of 24102ndJames Norwood15R11–1–1R21–0–11202
2013–14Conference
National
5461910178066+146710th of 24102ndJames Norwood19QR40–0–1R21–0–11194

‡ – reprieved from relegation due to Northwich Victoria demotion.
† – reprieved from relegation due to Salisbury City demotion.

Colours and crest[edit]

The previous club badge was very similar to the F.C. Barcelona badge. The flag of St. George appeared on both badges, showing his links to England as well as Catalonia. Rovers' traditional home kit for many years was a black and white striped shirt with black shorts

In May 2011, the club released a consultation for supporters inviting opinions on the clubs decision to change its badge. The new badge was finalised and was rolled out in time for the beginning of the 2011–2012 season.

On 2 July 2012, it was announced that the club would change its home strip from its traditional black and white stripes to a lime green shirt with black shorts and socks. The decision to move away from the traditional black and white stripes proved controversial with many supporters. The away strip was also changed to an all-white kit with the dates '1899–2012' near the neckline of the kit to indicate the years when the club first played in an all-white kit and the decision to bring it back in 2012.[5]

In the summer of 2014 the home strip was changed to lime green and black stripes on the front, with a plain green back, black shorts and black and green striped socks. On 19 August 2014 the new away strip was announced, which would be a modern version of the traditional home strip of black and white striped shirt, black shorts and red socks.[6]

Stadium[edit]

Forest Green play at the New Lawn in the hamlet of Forest Green, a short distance away from Nailsworth and 400 yards from the club's former ground, the Lawn Ground, which had been home to the club since it was founded in 1890, and remained little more than a field until the club's continued progress demanded a series of upgrades from the 1950s. This included terraces, famously partial levelling of the pitch, the Trevor Horsley Stand and new Barnfield Terrace sponsored by Rockwool, the latter two being moved to the new facility in 2006.

The New Lawn

At the start of the 2006–07 season, Forest Green opened The New Lawn. The Sustainability in Sport terrace is at the north end of the ground. This particular terrace is the location for away fans and had previously housed home supporters. A decision by the club at the end of the 2012–13 season saw the areas in which home and away fans were housed at the ground switched with home fans reverting to the EESI Stand at the opposite end of the ground which was converted from seating to a standing terrace.[7] The East Stand is the largest capacity stand at the ground and is a seated stand that contains seven boxes, the 'Green Man' public house, gym, dance studio and conference and leisure facilities. The western side of the ground is an open terrace available to home fans. Although the stadium can hold 5,147 fans, the highest league attendance was 3,021 against Oxford United. However, the highest all-time attendance was 4,836 for an FA Cup third round tie at home to Championship side Derby County. The usual attendance is between 800–1,200 for Conference fixtures and around 500–1,000 for cup fixtures.

In April 2009 the ground hosted the Conference League Cup final, broadcast live on Setanta Sports.

In June 2011 the club began work on making the pitch at the ground the first organic football pitch in the world. This was influenced by the chairman, Dale Vince.[8] In December 2011 the club then began work on installing 180 solar panels to the roof of the EESI stand, helping the club generate 10% of the electricity needed to run the stadium.[9] In April 2012, Forest Green introduced the first robot lawn mower to be used by a British football club on to its playing surface. This followed a previous robot mower that had been in service at the club's former ground. The Etesia robot mower – known as a 'mow bot' – uses GPS technology to automatically guide it round the pitch without the need for human intervention and gathers power from the solar panels already at the stadium.[10]

In December 2012, the club beat 200 other nominees to first prize in the Institute of Groundsmanship awards in the sustainability and environmental category for its organic pitch and the environmental aspects at The New Lawn.[11]

Players[edit]

Current squad[edit]

As of 29 August 2014.[citation needed]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No.PositionPlayer
1EnglandGKSam Russell
2WalesDFDavid Pipe
3EnglandDFChris Stokes
5EnglandDFLuke Oliver
6EnglandDFDale Bennett
7EnglandMFJames Norwood
8EnglandMFSam Wedgbury
10EnglandMFMarcus Kelly
11EnglandFWLee Hughes
12CameroonMFClovis Kamdjo
13EnglandGKSteve Arnold
No.PositionPlayer
14EnglandDFJames Jennings
15EnglandDFEddie Oshodi
16EnglandDFAarran Racine
17JerseyMFKurtis Guthrie
18EnglandMFElliott Frear
19EnglandMFRob Sinclair
20EnglandFWJon Parkin
21Republic of IrelandGKPaul White
23EnglandMFAnthony Barry
25EnglandFWLuke Rodgers
26EnglandDFDanny Coles

Out on loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No.PositionPlayer
22BrazilFWMagno Vieira (on loan at Nuneaton Town)
24EnglandMFKieron Forbes (on loan at Aldershot Town)

Coaching staff[edit]

Managerial History[edit]

DatesNameNotes
1955–1956England Bill Thomas
1957–1958England Eddie Cowley
1958–1960England Don Cowley
1966–1967England Jimmy Sewell
1967–1968England Alan Morris
1968–1979England Peter Goring
1979–1980England Tony Morris
1980–1982England Bob Mursell
1982England Roy Hillman
1983–1987England Steve Millard
1987–1990England John Evans
1990England Jeff Evans
1990–1991England Bobby Jones
1991–1992England Tim Harris
1992England Glen ThomasCaretaker Manager
1992–1994England Pat Casey
1994–2000England Frank Gregan
2000–2001England Nigel Spink & England Dave Norton
2001–2002England Nigel Spink
2002–2003England Colin Addison
2003–2004England Tim Harris
2004–2005England Alan Lewer
2005–2006England Gary Owers
2006England Paul WanlessCaretaker Manager
2006–2009Northern Ireland Jim Harvey
2009England David BrownCaretaker Manager
2009–2013England Dave Hockaday
2013England Gary SewardCaretaker Manager
2013England Scott BartlettCaretaker Manager
2013–England Adrian Pennock

Records and statistics[edit]

Honours[edit]

Forest Green Rovers Ladies[edit]

Forest Green Rovers Ladies are members of the South West Combination Football League and were formed at the start of the 2002–03 season when they changed from their former Chalford Ladies title.

In their first season the team were South West Women's Football League champions and also picked up the Pat Sowden Trophy. And in the 2007–08 season they reached the fourth round of the FA Women's Cup but were eventually knocked out by Liverpool LFC. Similarly the following season they reached the fourth round again, this time being knocked out by Leeds Carnegie. In 2009 they became the Gloucestershire County Cup winners following a win over Cheltenham Town Ladies.

An agreement was struck ahead of the 2011–12 season for the Forest Green Ladies side to play home games at Wisloe Road, the home of nearby Slimbridge. This followed years spent playing in the men's first team stadium at The New Lawn and as part of the agreement Forest Green Rovers donated a set of dugouts to Slimbridge and regularly visit for a pre-season friendly every summer.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Burgers banned at football club". BBC News. 10 February 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  2. ^ "Forest Green Rovers vice-chairman Trevor Horsley resigns". BBC Sport. 6 June 2012. 
  3. ^ http://forestgreenroversfc.co.uk/id12.html Forest Green Rovers archieved stats
  4. ^ http://www.emfootball.co.uk/attend2013.html East Midlands football – Average League Attendance Figures
  5. ^ "New Fixtures, New Players, New Kit". Football Conference. 2 July 2012. 
  6. ^ "Forest Green launch new away kit". 19 August 2014. 
  7. ^ "Chairman Vince in New Lawn switch". Stroud News & Journal. 6 June 2013. 
  8. ^ "Forest Green Rovers spread manure on pitch". BBC News. 15 June 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  9. ^ "Forest Green Rovers football club installs solar panels". BBC News. 4 December 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  10. ^ "Robot lawn mower used by Forest Green Rovers football club". BBC News. 21 April 2012. 
  11. ^ "Forest Green Rovers FC wins award for 'organic' pitch". BBC News. 7 December 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2012. 

External links[edit]